Mandatory For Containers On Vessels To Be Weighed Exactly Before Leaving Port

Containers on vessels leaving domestic ports are required to be weighed exactly at a weighing fee of RM5 per standard twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) and not follow the current practice of estimating their weight.

This is to prevent ships from suffering structural failure due to excess container weight onboard as what happened to MSC Napoli in 2007 and feeder ship in Spanish port of Algeciras last year.

Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) Transport, Defence and Maintenance, Repair and Operations Unit Director, Md Silmi Abd Rahman, said Malaysia was responding to the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) call to enforce the Safety of Life at Sea (Solas) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) on July 1, 2016.

“The Solas VGM requires every container to be weighed and to be accompanied by a shipping document.

“The document is either signed electronically or in hard copy by the shipper before leaving the port, as compared to the current practice of estimating its weight,” Md Silmi said.

He said this at a media briefing on the implementation of the Solas VGM, in conjunction with a half-day seminar on May 26, 2016 to generate awareness on the Solas Container Weight Verification Requirement” for exporters.

“The weighing exercise will be mandatory for shipping containers, and companies that failed to comply will not be allowed to load the containers onto a ship.

“Some countries have publicised the penalties for non-compliance of the Solas VGM. For example, Japan will charge US$2,600 per case and according to Transport Canada, penalties for violating the new weight verification requirements can be up to C$12,000 per infraction,” he said.

Md Silmi said the lower container weighing fee in Malaysian ports would make it more attractive compared to Singapore Port.

“The Solas VGM fee at Singapore Port is expected to be at S$10 per TEU.

“Singapore Port is our benchmark and the fact that our fee is more competitive will be an advantage to the local industry,” he said.

He said Malaysia is currently ranked 25th in the world for logistics efficiency, scoring higher than Thailand (35), Vietnam (48), Indonesia (53), however Malaysia is way behind Singapore, which holds the fifth place.

Meanwhile, Md Silmi said, the seminar was expected to be attended by 500 participants including small and medium enterprises who are manufacturers and service providers that utilise sea freight services.

“The objectives of the seminar is to update exporters on the requirement of shippers to provide VGM, the correct procedure to obtain VGM and to provide a platform for industry players to seek clarification on the implementation of the Solas VGM,” he said.

Under the regulation, shippers are also required to register and declare the preferred method for packing the containers with the Marine Department, which will supervise the enforcement of the Solas VGM.